Though your people, O Israel, be like the sand by the sea, only a remnant will return.
Isaiah uses the image of fire to describe Gods judgment on evil (see Isaiah 10:17-19). But the prophet also uses that image to describe Gods grace. Israel was called to walk in the light of the Lord (2:5). A burning coal was taken from heavens altar to cleanse Isaiah for prophetic service (6:6-7). Gods purpose from the beginning has been not merely judgment but blessing. And that blessing is for the spiritual descendants of Abraham everywhere (Genesis 12:3; Galatians 3:26-29).
Through Jesus coming, people of all nations receive the gospel blessings promised to Abrahams seed (Galatians 3:16). But has God rejected his people Israel? This is Pauls question in Romans 11:1, and the answer is No! While it is true that most of the children of Jacob rejected Immanuel when he came, there was a remnant who believed. And because they followed Jesus, they were exposed to brutal persecution and even death at the hands of their traditional religious leaders.
Christians disagree today over the meaning of certain passages of Scripture about the future of the Jews. But we need to remember that the first members of the early church were Jewish believers and that there remains today a remnant chosen by grace (Romans 11:5). What a powerful sign this is, showing that our salvation is by Gods grace from start to finish!
Almighty God, thank you for bringing together as one body Jews and Gentiles through faith in your Son, Immanuel, our Savior, in whose name we pray. Amen.
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